Complexity: A fallacy to earning a creative’s worth

Creatives are in the business of selling ideas. Your work is labelled as “clever” should “they” think of it as a successful solution to the brief.

This usually lead to creatives trying to be clever or providing complex designs, unnecessarily, just so they justify their worth.

A ‘cool’ or complex design is futile, if it fails to do what its creators are hired to achieve.

Sometimes all a client’s design challenge needs is the most basic and simplest layout or design, but for some reason a designer would feel it will look “too simple” for the priced they charged the client.

Typically, creatives will settle for anything as long as it looks too difficult for the client to do by themselves.

There’s a lesson for graphic designers to learn from copywriters:

  • We try harder — Avis

  • I’m lovin’ it! — McDonalds

  • It keeps you going, and going, and going…  — Energizer Batteries

  • Let your fingers do the walking — Yellow Pages

  • Finger-lickin’ good — KFC

  • Beanz Meanz Heinz — Heinz Baked Beans

  • Just Do it — Nike

  • Keep Walking — Johnnie Walker

  • Be the first to know — CNN


One thing that’s visible from these slogans is that copywriters understand the power of simplicity and most importantly, they keep the targeted market in mind when developing a solution.

Copywriters work with language daily, so it’s safe to say they’re one of the most knowledgeable people when coming to language and it’s usage — but you won’t find them using bombastic words just to remind everybody “who they are” and that they know their language.

Most graphic designers suffers from what I’d like to call, visual bombast — complex visuals with little meaning, used to impress clients and justify what they charged.

This is where you will find meaningless work, designs filled with nothing that an over-use of photoshop filters.

This brings back a quote that I once shared to mind:
“Great designers seldom make great advertising men, because they get overcome by the beauty of the picture – and forget that merchandise must be sold.” – James Randolph Adams

The complexity of your work does in no way justify your worth. All you owe the client is to provide a design that answers the brief.

If that can be achieved by writing their company name in white on a black background — so be it.